Sandalwood is an all-encompassing gift to humanity. Sandalwood not only offers a luxurious aroma to please your senses but also heals you in its myriad ways.
Sandalwood (botanical name: Santalum album), is one of the most ancient trees, with it’s use dating back to at least 3100 BCE. It has an intensely sweet, woody, balsamic, and slightly musky aroma.
It is a priceless ingredient for luxury perfumes, incenses, essential oils, and cosmetics. Sandalwood is native to South India and later spread to entire South Asia.
The Sandalwood tree takes about 10 – 15 years to mature and turn aromatic. A 26-year-old tree is at its fragrant best and yields rich heartwood.
Due to long-term maintenance costs involved, Sandalwood justifies the high price it commands. It is the 2nd most valuable tree on earth.
Benefits of Sandalwood to Mankind
Sandalwood in Religion:
• Indian Sandalwood (Santalum album), has its reference in one of the oldest Hindu Vedic scriptures. The Nirukta. They still consider it a divine wood. So it's used in carving religious idols as it retains the fragrance for decades. • Buddhists and Taoists believe Sandalwood helps strengthen one's spiritual essence. Sandalwood oil helps achieve inner peace and feelings of greater unity during meditation. • The Sufis of Islam mark the graves of the deceased with Sandalwood paste. The tree is thought to guide the soul into the next life. • Ancient Egyptians used Sandalwood for anointments, embalming, and funerals.
Sandalwood in Medicine
• Traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda, Chinese, Tibetan, and Coptic medicines use it in their potions. Thanks to its cooling, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. • Ayurvedic practitioners use it as a remedy for insomnia, nervous tension, and anxiety. • Is anti-inflammatory, rejuvenating, and toning actions are ideal for skin disorders. • It is an expectorant plant, proficient in treating respiratory ailments. • Ancient cultures used Sandalwood paste or Sandalwood infused oil as an aphrodisiac. • In most of these cases, a moist compress of fine wood-powder is used.
Sandalwood in Perfumes and Cosmetics:
• Due to the luxurious fragrance it exudes, perfume and cosmetics industries use it extensively. • Sandalwood oil blended with other aromatic oils like lavender makes for an enriching Spa and massage experience. • Ancient Indians and Egyptians widely used Sandalwood in cosmetics and perfumes. They still do.
Australian Sandalwood: How can you help in its sustainability?
Due to rampant exploitation, the native Sandalwood species in India and Hawaii are already endangered. Australia’s native Sandalwood named “Santalum spicatum” is, however, far from endangerment. The government of Australia has been employing sustainable measures and workable policies to make this feasible.
Wild Western Australia is the current sandalwood belt where royal Indian variety is also planted. Australia already caters to 40% of world market share, according to a study. The demand for Sandalwood will increase multifold in a decade.
By 2025, Australia will have ready, the commercially viable Sandalwood trees. It is touted to surpass the other significant producers of Sandalwood by then. Individuals, therefore, need to support the Australian government in its sustainability efforts.
One way is by making sure you know where your essential oils and Sandalwood are being sourced from.